Installing rainwater tanks

Before you install a rainwater tank, you should find out the key facts about the property. Then use the following information to find out if your rainwater tank project needs planning approval.


The Queensland Development Code defines a rainwater tank as "a covered tank, or combination of covered tanks, used to collect and store rainwater from a building's roof, that may also be used to store potable water from a reticulated town water supply system for use when the stored rainwater supply is depleted."

Residential zones

In residential zones, there is generally no need to obtain a development approval from Brisbane City Council for a rainwater tank.

If your rainwater tank does not trigger the requirements of a development approval from Brisbane City Council, you may still require building approval. Seek advice from an accredited building certifier regarding your rainwater tank approval.

You may require plumbing approval for any internal connections, including but not limited to:

  • connecting the rainwater into your home for:
    • toilet flushing
    • cold water washing machine taps
  • if you are supplying the tank with town water supply back-up.

Other zones

If your proposed rainwater tank project is not in a residential zone, contact Brisbane City Council on 07 3403 8888 for advice specific to your situation.

Land within the Bushfire overlay

Development, other than for a house, in the Bushfire overlay area in Brisbane City Plan 2014 is subject to the requirements of the Bushfire overlay code. Sites that do not have access to a reticulated water supply with enough water pressure for fire-fighting may need to meet minimum requirements for on-site water storage.

This water supply may be in the form of a separate tank or a reserve section as part of a main water supply tank, so it is available for fire-fighting at all times. The tank must have appropriate fittings and be located so that the water supply is accessible for fire-fighting vehicles. The tank and fittings must be constructed to withstand bushfires.

Last updated:

Brisbane City Council acknowledges this Country and its Traditional Custodians. We pay our respects to the Elders, those who have passed into the dreaming; those here today; those of tomorrow.